Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters vary in quality and dimensions, and some have specs that others don't. In most situations we recommend getting the filter your HVAC manufacturer recommends pairing with your equipment.

All filters are assigned MERV ratings, which go from 1–20. MERV means minimum efficiency reporting value.

A higher value indicates the filter can trap more miniscule particles. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that stops finer dirt can clog faster, raising pressure on your unit. If your equipment isn’t made to run with this kind of filter, it may restrict airflow and lead to other issues.

Unless you reside in a medical facility, you probably don’t need a MERV level greater than 13. In fact, many residential HVAC equipment is specifically engineered to operate with a filter with a MERV rating below 13. Occasionally you will find that quality systems have been made to work with a MERV level of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV rating of 5 should catch many daily triggers, including pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters assert they can stop mold spores, but we suggest having a professional eliminate mold rather than trying to mask the trouble with a filter.

Sometimes the packaging demonstrates how regularly your filter should be exchanged. From what we know, the accordion-style filters last longer, and are worth the extra cost.

Filters are manufactured from differing materials, with one-use fiberglass filters being standard. Polyester and pleated filters trap more debris but may reduce your equipment’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you could tempted to use a HEPA filter, know that's like adding a MERV 16 filter in your comfort equipment. It’s very unlikely your equipment was made to run with level of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality. This unit works along with your HVAC system.

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